Meeting Review! Wednesday February 14th

How fitting that the latest meeting of Wimbledon Speakers Club, held on St. Valentine’s Day, was tinged with passion and emotion, as we bade a fond farewell to William Morris House, our home ever since the club was formed back in 1998. But before we said hello to our new home at Wimbledon Library in a couple of weeks, there was time to send the old place off in fine style!

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And we did just that, as Sam took the chair to welcome the audience to an action-packed evening, the highlight of which was the Annual Speech Evaluation Contest, for which we were honoured to have Suzanne Taylor Warren from Chaucer Speakers Club (and former National Evaluation Finalist) in attendance to judge the competition.

After the traditional icebreaker where Sam asked us all to introduce ourselves and tell us about one memorable place we’d been to in our lives, he then moved onto the Topics session, which this week centred around one of his passions – horse racing! Having noted some of the wonderful words and phrases that owners give to their horses, he gave each participant the name of one horse that ran the previous weekend and asked them to speak for 2 minutes in any particular way about that word or phrase. Our Topics Evaluator for the evening, Bilwa, noted the fantastic and inventive responses that were given to all Topics, including ‘Deeds Not Words’ by Katherine, ‘Whatswrongwithyou’ by Debra and ‘Shortbackandsides’ by William, but Michael took the honours for the final time at William Morris House, with his response to ‘Bloody Nose’! Special mentions must also go to our three newcomers on the evening – Anne, Natasha and Roya, who all participated brilliantly on their first visit.

After the brief business session and a cup of tea, it was time for the Main Event. Ben provided the Target Speech for the contest – a Level 3 ‘Mean What You Say’ speech entitled ‘From Duckling To Dolphin’ – where he told the audience of his experience of training for his first triathlon. John, Bilwa and Joseph took part in the contest and, after careful consideration and describing the key things she was looking for in the evaluation, Suzanne announced that Bilwa was this year’s champion. Many congratulations to Bilwa who goes on to represent our club in the next round of the competition. As Sam remarked, our new venue has a large mantelpiece that would look great with a trophy on it……

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After some last quick-fire topics, it was time for Michael to close the evening with his general evaluation – a fitting way to bring the curtain down on 20 years at William Morris House. And with that, Debra, our Club Secretary and Founder, closed the door for the final time….

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And so now it’s time for pastures new!! We look forward to our next meeting on Wednesday 28th February (kick off 7.30pm) which will take place in our new home of Wimbledon Library (2 minutes walk from Wimbledon train / underground station) for more practice and progress! Everyone welcome – especially new visitors!

Meeting Review! Wednesday 13th December

Wednesday evening saw the last meeting of the calendar year at Wimbledon Speakers Club and the annual speech competition!

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The meeting opened as ever with icebreaker introductions where everyone had to declare their favourite Xmas song, with Slade’s ‘Merry Christmas’ running out a clear winner!

We then moved onto the Topics round which this meeting had a festive theme, but with a twist! The Chair asked us all to start talking about our love for certain festive items such as brussel sprouts, New Year’s Eve and Christmas jumpers, but as soon as she rang the bell, the contestants had to switch direction and say how much they hated those very same items! This proved to be very entertaining with the bell sometimes ringing mid-sentence and speakers having to change tack very quickly! The winner was Arsh – his second time since recently joining the club.

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It was then onto the main event of the evening – the speech contest – where we had 5 speakers who had chosen either ‘sowing seeds’ or ‘topsy turvy’ as the title of their speech. Ben kicked things off and chose topsy turvy which he used to talk about the London riots in 2011 and how he was living in New Cross at the time and the way they affected him and his opinion of London.

Frank came up next choosing sowing seeds, where he talked about his time working at Sainsbury’s in Croydon with people from different backgrounds and how he would love to give us all types of fruit and veg.

It was then Jo’s turn to speak, again with sowing seeds, where he gave various examples of how sowing seeds of change in his way of thinking have changed his life.

John chose sowing seeds and used this title to tell us about the three celebrity guests he would like to invite for dinner – Carol Vorderman, Jeff Stelling and Sir Michael Parkinson. The common theme here was how successful they have each became in their respective roles despite not having any contacts within the industry and how that was inspiring to John.

Last but not least came Josie, who spoke about the importance of sowing seeds for the future to create a positive change for yourself and the world and how her father arrived in the country with little more than a bag of clothes – this taught Josie that each person has everything they need to make a success of their lives. This proved to be a very thoughtful and inspirational speech which won the contest, as chosen by long-standing ASC member Gwyn Redgers, who provided a comprehensive speech evaluation. It was great to have such a stalwart of the ASC joining us on the evening.

Josie speech contest winner

A thoroughly enjoyable and successful evening was rounded off in traditional style, with a Christmas drink in the Antoinette Pub next door!

We look forward to meeting back once again in the new year on Wednesday 10th January (kick off 7.30pm) for more practice and progress! Everyone welcome – especially new visitors!

 

Meeting Review! Wednesday 11th October

19 enthusiasts arrived at Wimbledon Speakers Club last Wednesday evening for another occasion of speaking fun!

There was a great mix of new guests and long term members and the latter shared much of their knowledge and experience by acting as Evaluators throughout the evening.

Alice offered us an educational on speech preparation and primarily the why’s and how’s of using notes. And as a speaker who has been involved in many competitions, varied work assignments and stand up gigs, she was well qualified to comment! Key to the process was that she involved the audience in the process, inviting us to respond, share ideas and help to create the presentation. Sincere thanks to her for such a valuable session.

Pleasingly, every single newcomer took part in the Topics session and Alpna (pictured below) took the trophy for best topic on her first attempt. Congratulations, Alpna!

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All speakers were encouraged to declare strong opinions on this occasion, and to mean what they said about allocated topics, rather than to ponder and consider them. Other strong contenders were Arsh with ‘PlayStation is better than Playground’, Alice with ‘It’s better to plant a cabbage than a rose’, and Debra with ‘The 70s, the Best decade’.
But Alpna pipped them all to the post with ‘Parents know best’!

We look forward to meeting once again on Wednesday 25th October (kick off 7.30pm) for more practice and progress! Everyone welcome – especially new visitors!

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